CHALMERS — A White County man is facing up to 25 years in prison after entering a guilty plea for his role in attempting to blow up his neighbor’s vehicle after a reported dispute.

Darren Amick, 55, of the 200 block of South Indiana 43, Chalmers, was arrested in November 2020 and charged with placing a destructive device or explosive, a Level 2 felony. He was lodged at the White County Jail on no bond.

On Nov. 23, 2021, Amick entered into an agreement with the state in which he pleaded guilty and will receive a sentence capped at 25 years is prison.

According to court documents, Amick suspected his neighbor, Dustin Johnson, a Chalmers resident, had damaged his truck so he decided to “return the favor.” Amick alleges that Johnson slashed the tires on his truck

Amick also told police he became angered at Johnson during a dispute a day earlier, court documents stated.

In response, Amick told police he planted a homemade explosive device under Johnson’s vehicle and detonated it around 7:11 a.m. Nov. 17, 2020, court documents state.

It was at that time that social media chatter emerged about a “loud explosion” and “sound of gunshots” in Chalmers.

White County sheriff’s deputies responded to the 100 block of Earl Street near Main Street in Chalmers and detained Johnson before learning that his Ford Edge SUV had an exploded bomb under it, court documents state.

Deputies then contacted Indiana State Police for help. Johnson’s home was cordoned off and police began searching for evidence of bullet strikes and shell casings around nearby homes and buildings.

ISP, according to court documents, discovered a second homemade bomb, similar to the detonated bomb under Johnson’s SUV. Police also obtained closed-circuit video surveillance showing Amick setting the bomb under Johnson’s vehicle and returning to his own home, court documents state.

ISP’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal team deactivated the second homemade bomb.

The original shots fired call prompted Frontier School Corporation to lock down the high school and administrative office in Chalmers.

Superintendent Dan Sichting said at the time that two Frontier school buses that normally operate within Chalmers were diverted from the area to Frontier Elementary School in Brookston. A message was sent to all Frontier Junior/Senior High School students to shelter in place.

Students already arriving at the school and seated in their vehicles were ushered into the building for safety, he said.

The high school and administrative office were taken off lockdown status less than an hour after the explosion.

Amick’s sentencing hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. Jan. 10, 2022, in White Superior Court in front of Judge Brad A. Woolley.

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